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Raising the bar for river workers’ safety training

A partnership to promote the highest safety standards for all boat operators on the tidal Thames has been launched by the Company of Waterman & Lighterman and the Port of London Authority (PLA).

From January, the two organisations will work together to develop a new programme of continuous professional development for all those working afloat on the river, mirroring similar initiatives in the aviation, rail and construction sectors.

The PLA’s Chief Harbour Master Bob Baker said: “The river is thriving, but increased activity has the potential for an increased risk of accidents. That’s why this new partnership is so important.

“Our Thames Vision includes ambitious targets to increase use of the river for freight, passengers and recreation by 2035. The well-being of all river users will always be our first priority, so meeting our goals requires an unrelenting focus on safety.

“Crucially we need to attract new employees into the industry, further underlining the importance of skills training and development on an on-going basis.”

Tony Maynard from the Company of Watermen & Lightermen said: “At the Company of Waterman & Lighterman our aim is to continue to facilitate the training and to assist all new candidates who wish to seek a career on the Thames.

We also feel that this initiative in conjunction with PLA is vital to assist those currently working on our River to the highest standards, to continue to do so, and meet the challenges that are set daily on the River Thames.

Workshops attended by Masters of all sectors of the industry particularly freight, passengers and commuters would give all those concerned the chance to understand one another’s potential problems better and would encourage best practices, along the whole of the tidal river from the Estuary to Teddington”


For further information please contact: Nick Tennant: 07784 208074.

  • The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, stretching 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea. It shares its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise to promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.
  • The Company of Watermen and Lightermen is comprised of Freemen who work on and around the tidal Thames. The Company’s main role is educating and training the next generation of Skippers and crew wanting to work commercially on the River Thames.